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Situation Report

FP's Situation Report: Syria blocks aid

Syria is blocking aid and ignoring threats from the U.N. FP's Colum Lynch: "... the Syrian government continued over the past month to lay siege to more than 220,000 of its own civilians, block the delivery of life-saving medicines to opposition areas, and maintain bureaucratic restrictions making it extremely difficult for U.N. relief workers to reach hundreds of thousands of needy Syrians, according to an unpublished March 22 report by U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. The impediments to the international relief effort come one month after the Security Council adopted its first ever resolution demanding that Syria's combatants provide immediate access to relief workers or face the threat of 'further steps.' The resolution called on the U.N. chief to report to the 15-nation council on progress every 30 days." Read More »


The Appeal of the Courts

In his second inaugural address, President Barack Obama alluded to the end of the nation's post-9/11 wars, describing his vision of a world where "enduring security and lasting peace do not require perpetual war." Listening to the debate last week on whether Congress should expand its previous guidelines for using military force to combat terrorism, it was easy to wonder whether that vision would ever become a reality.  Read More »


Time for another round of hypothetical holiday gifts

I've finished my holiday shopping (at last), which means it's time for another round of hypothetical gift-giving for some important world leaders and political figures. If it were in my power, here's what I'd be sending some notables this year. Read More »


White House vows response to North Korean launch

The White House vowed to retaliate with “appropriate action” to North Korea’s launch of an object into space on Tuesday, claiming the pariah dictatorship deliberately violated United Nations agreements against ballistic missile technology and threatened Asian security. “The international community must work in a concerted fashion to send North Korea a clear message that its violations of United Nations Security Council resolutions have consequences,” said National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor, in a statement. The U.S. military’s North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) tracked the launch, which North Korea claimed was to put a satellite into orbit. In a rare statement from NORAD, delivered through the Pentagon, the command said the missile flew southward, dropping two boosters stages along the way.  Japanese news said the missile flew over Okinawa. “Initial indications are that the missile deployed an object that appeared to achieve orbit. At no time was the missile or the resultant debris a threat to North America,” said the command. That threat is Washington’s chief concern. North Korea, a nuclear state, does not have a long-range ballistic missile capable of reaching the continental United States, but during a visit through China in 2011, Defense Secretary Robert Gates predicted Pyongyang was within five-years of achieving that technology. Pyongyang reportedly claimed it launched a weather satellite. Vietor on Tuesday said, “North Korea’s launch today -- using ballistic missile technology despite express prohibitions by United Nations Security Council resolutions -- is a highly provocative act that threatens regional security, directly violates United Nations Security Council resolutions 1718 and 1874, contravenes North Korea’s international obligations, and undermines the global non-proliferation regime.” Vietor said the White House would quickly pursue talks with Six-Party members and the United Nations Security Council to determine what action to take in response to the launch. “Devoting scarce resources to the development of ballistic missiles and nuclear weapons has not brought it security and acceptance by the international community—and never will.” Read More »


Soldier poets of the Great War (I): Eating breakfast under the flying German shells

I spent a lot of time recently reading poems from World War I, much of it new to me. Rather than discuss them all at once, I am going to feature one poem or even one line a day.  Read More »